Zucchini Pesto and Goodbyes

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This week has been full of goodbyes. My garden vegetables and herbs spring up with their last hopeful reach for the sun before returning to the earth until next spring. Autumn is right around the corner, so the time has come to bid farewell to long, warm summer nights and hot, sunny days on the lake. And my least favorite goodbye, a good friend Kelly is moving out of state. Portland gets all the cool kids!

Like tend I to do, out of necessity in the process or simply as an excuse to cook and eat, I invite Kelly over for one last meal to share before she hits the road. This is also the exact meal at which summer fades into fall within my kitchen. Huge zucchinis and tomatoes plucked from the vines will be replaced by Crockpot whole chickens and bone broth simmering on the stove. For tonight though, we basque in summer, and fresh zucchini with sundried tomatoes and fresh basil pesto is about as much summer flavor as a plate can handle.

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Ingredients:

2 large, fresh zucchinis

1 cup walnuts

2 cups fresh basil

½ cup high quality olive oil

2-4 cloves garlic

1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

¼ cup sundried tomatoes (jarred in oil if store-bought)

Instructions:

  1. Grate the zucchinis on a box grater, through the food processor or if you’re super fancy a with a zoodler!
  2. Combine all other ingredients besides sun-dried tomatoes in food processor and blend until incorporated, but slightly chunky. Mix in tomatoes by hand.
  3. Serve like a cold pasta dish… Place zucchini in a bowl and top with pesto. Viola! Injoy!

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And farewell, Kelly Dear! So many well wishes, new meal memories and southward visits coming your way!

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Summer Collard Wraps

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This time of year, my garden begins bursting with fresh, delicious greens and I know it’s time to start putting together my favorite summer snack… Collard wraps! This recipe utilizes lots of fresh veggies and is super simple to put together. Since myself, and many of the people I know practice a mostly gluten or grain-free diet, these wraps are a crowd pleaser no matter what the occasion. I make them for picnics and potlucks, for lunch at least twice a week and as a delicious and nutritious meal on the trail. They are best when eaten the same day, but can be kept in the fridge for a few days if need be. Injoy!

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Ingredients:

8 large collard leaves

1 ½ cups raw sunflower seed pate

Grated carrots

Sprouts

Sliced avocado

Cucumber (sliced in quarters length-wise, then in half)

**Other filling options you would include in a sandwich**

~Roaster turkey, cheese, salami, tomatoes, pickles, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil and blanch each leaf for 30-60 seconds until just softened. Gently remove with tongs and set on a plate to cool.
  2. To assemble the wrap, place a collard leaf onto a large plate or cutting board. Place a spoonful or two of pate on one end, and add other filling options on top of the pate. Fold the sides over and roll tightly like a burrito.
  3. Refrigerate right away or slice and serve.

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice

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This recipe is so incredibly delicious, and got such rave reviews, I had to promise to incorporate it into my biweekly rotation of meals and lunches. I haven’t heard those resounding “yummmmms” about a new dish in quite awhile, so I am happy to oblige! Also, I haven’t had Chinese food in years, but the flavors and preparation of this dish brought me right back to traveling through SE Asia and watching movies with chicken fried rice in my early 20’s. One of my favorite things about food is the memories and nostalgia it can trigger. The tastes, smells and textures can deliver you right into another time and place.

Also, avoiding grains and increasing a variety of vegetables for the last several weeks has inspired creativity in meal planning. This all-in-one supper provides a balanced nutritional profile and a tasty think-outside-the-box style of cooking. Cauliflower is a wonderful cruciferous vegetable to incorporate into your diet. It has lots of B vitamins, Vitamin C (though that does get depleted with cooking), fiber, potassium and protein. Injoy!!

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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower

2 chicken breasts (optional for vegetarians)

2 Tbsp. + 2 more Tbsp Coconut oil

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. garlic, chopped

1 cup green peas

4 eggs, whisked

6 Tbsp. wheat-free tamari

1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Chop vegetables and whisk eggs. Grate the cauliflower on the larger side of a cheese grater, or pulse pieces in a food processor (recommended) until they are rice sized.

2. Squeeze the cauliflower through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to remove any excess moisture, which helps make sure you get the crispier fried rice texture. (You’ll be surprised how much moisture will be squeezed out!)

3. Heat your skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. coconut oil to the pan and allow it to melt. Add your onions and sauté until translucent. Then add garlic and carrots and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add peas and cook 1 additional minute. Remove from pan and set aside in a large bowl.

4. Next add your whisked eggs to the pan and scramble them until they are lightly browned. Add a little sea salt and pepper, remove from pan and add them to the large bowl with the vegetables.

5. Chop chicken breasts into small chunks and saute them in the pan as well. Then add to the bowl with eggs and vegetables.

6. Next add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil to the pan and allow it to get very hot. Add the riced cauliflower to the pan and toss it in the oil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, only stirring every couple minutes so that it allows some pieces on the bottom to fry and get brown and crispy.

7. Add the vegetable and rice mixture back to the pan and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, tamari, fish sauce and some additional sea salt and pepper to taste.